At this point it is worth restating that Increment 1 is not designed to replace the services offered by civilian marine salvage and construction companies. Anything it does will be completed in a short time period and temporary in character. This is in part a recognition that specialist capabilities exist in civilian industry that should not be replicated in a military context, because there is no need. It is also a recognition of the limitations of what can practically be achieved with a collections of equipment carried on a single non specialised vessel. Even a cursory glance at any images of port construction or marine salvage will reveal specialist equipment on a simply massive scale. None of this will be found in Increment 1.
From the requirements section there are a number of possible activities, some more complex than others, some likely to take longer than others, some sequential, some completed in parallel, and some possibly not needed at all. Rather than examine each task individually this section will look at potential solutions and equipment options, recognising that some of those equipment selections can be used for multiple requirements.
Debris and Wreckage Removal
There are two types of debris; that which exists on the land part of the port and that which is floating or sunken.
Above water debris can be pushed, pulled or lifted out of the way and collected in-situ or removed to a central point for classification and recycling. Some of this debris may be toxic or hazardous in some other way and therefore any removal capability must reflect this.
Debris could be collapsed buildings, steelwork, containers, machinery or organic matter.
Where it can be pushed out of the way the ideal solution will be to use in service bulldozers, the Cat D5 (Tractor Caterpillar D5N) and DEUCE (Tractor Med Combat Air Portable Cat 3030) for example.
Containers could be pushed or lifted out of the way. Because they are unlikely to be arranged neatly and aligned with the ground so that container lifters or large fork lifts can use their lifting spreaders and attachments, the most practical method would be to use a crane, especially if the containers are filled.
The in service Terex AC35 and AC55L mobile cranes would provide vertical lift for debris removal from all areas of a port ad their deployment would likely be a high priority because they can be used for many other tasks.
Where the debris might need more effort is if it is fixed in place such as large blocks of reinforced concrete or structural components, if it needs to be moved some distance (depending where it is) or if it needs reducing in size in situ before clearance.
If the debris is on the surface and simply needs moving a greater distance than is feasible with a crawler tractor the combination of wheeled and tracked loaders and a dump truck is an effective one, moving the debris to a designated dumping area.
In service with the British Army via the ALC C Vehicle PFI is the Medium Dump Truck and Self Loading Dump Truck, both based on the Iveco Trakker AD380T chassis with a Thomson Loadmaster Tipper Body that has a 16 tonne payload.
These are in service vehicles and would, therefore, carry no additional cost but if a greater payload was considered desirable or if the dumper is likely to be used in marginal terrain such as a beach or shoreline then a larger articulated dump truck would be a better choice.
There are a wide variety of manufacturers but to maintain manufacturer consistency with other in service equipment, Volvo and Caterpillar would be on the shortlist. Although they each have many models, typically, they can carry double the payload or more when compared to the Trakker. Because they would not need to travel any great distances they would not need a dedicated low loader and could simply be driven directly off the LCU or Mexeflote and into the port area. With double the payload, a given load total could be moved in half the time or with half the personnel and half the number of vehicles in the same time.
Excavators and loaders, wheeled or tracked, are used to load the dump trucks. In service with the British Army is equipment from Volvo and JCB, with a number of items of Caterpillar protected plant purchased as UOR’s for Afghanistan. These types of wheeled and tracked loaders and excavators are versatile and useful, and already in service in quantity. They can also be fitted with specialist ancillaries like hydraulic breakers, sweepers, shears and grapples.
Where the debris might need more effort is if it is fixed in place such as large blocks of reinforced concrete or structural components, if it needs to be moved some distance (depending where it is) or if it needs reducing in size in-situ before clearance.
The hydraulic attachments show above such as grapple and shears could be supplemented with specialist demolition equipment such as pulverisers, drum cutters, demolition grabs and rippers for greater efficiency. Because the debris might be timber or wooden piles excavator mounted saws would also be very useful.
- Demolition Grab
- Drum Cutter
- Drum Cutter
- Rotary Cutter
- Underwater Breaker
- Demolition Ripper
- Drum Cutter
- Pile Cutting Saw
- Hydraulic Chainsaw
If there is any floating debris such as insulated containers, logs or small craft they can be pulled out of the way using workboats and ground based winches. The in service CAT D5N can be equipped with a winch, useful for such applications.
In the same manner as options for larger dump trucks described above there are also options for larger excavators and loaders. Larger machines would allow more rapid debris removal but at the expense of increased space aboard ship and greater transport requirements
Hydraulic and compressed air hand tools, found as standard in Royal Engineers squadron stores, could be used to facilitate debris removal.
The safe demolition and removal of obstacles may also be facilitated by explosive cutting charges. Most of the in service equipment is supplied by Chemring Energetics and Mondial Defence including Hayrick Charge Demolition No 14 and SABREX linear cutting charge for example. General purpose explosives like PE4 and Pastex 14 might also find some use in demolition and debris removal
With the wide range of plant and machinery already available in service with the Royal Engineers there should be no obstacles or debris in the port that cannot be quickly cleared.
Removal of underwater debris and wreckage presents a more difficult problem because of the environment and potential size of debris and wreckage. It will also require the purchase and maintenance of certain specialist items of equipment as is the first element of Increment 1 that might need significant additional investment.
There has to be a recognition of the limits of capability embodied in Increment 1, it is not envisaged that it will replace large-scale commercial salvage organisations that can move sunken supertankers but simply implement a capability that can remove small to medium sized underwater debris and wreckage, simply moving it out of the way is the order of the day.
Viewing the underwater debris or wreckage directly may not always be needed but if it is, a diver and possibly ROV capability will be required. A multipurpose work platform and long reach excavator is also likely to prove very useful for this and other tasks, and so, they will be described here.
Some of the lead diver support elements may have been deployed during the survey task and in the same manner, underwater clearance needs to proceed in a range of temperatures and in the presence of pollutants.
The Royal Navy and British Army have considerable diving expertise and capabilities so Increment 1 may not need much in the way of new equipment, the tasks will be completed at relatively shallow depth and therefore, not require saturation diving techniques, most will be conducted using surface supplied equipment.
The subsurface environment is complex and especially dangerous in ports so the full range of rescue and standby equipment will be needed.
In many scenarios, the divers can use facilities onboard RN vessels that will be in the area but in others, only general purpose may be available and so a deployable 10 and 20 foot containerised system would be optimal, such that it can be demounted from a transport vehicle and used at the quayside or from a work platform. These are available from a number of suppliers such as Divex and SMP and contain equipment storage, compressors, control equipment and other machinery. 10 foot dive control and machinery containers would be best suited as they can be easily lifted onto floating work platforms with the larger 20ft container used for workshops and diver decompression chambers. These containers should also contain hot water systems for use in cold water environments.
Underwater cutting equipment and power tools are in service including Broco cutting torches and Stanley underwater hydraulic diamond chainsaws for example. These should be augmented with additional specialist equipment such as steel wire rope and rebar cutters.
In addition to portable ladders and other access equipment the divers will need a floating work platform. This platform can also be used for many other tasks.
As part of the survey team equipment a small workboat will be available to the follow on dive team but more are always useful. Traditionally this would be a Combat Support Boat and if they are available, would be ideal. There are other options available that could be used for other tasks in addition to diver support.
The easiest way to provide a floating temporary work platform in relatively sheltered water is to use one of the many modular pontoons available in the commercial market, steel or plastic.
HDPE modular pontoons are cheap, easy to deploy, adaptable, maintenance free and available from many suppliers such as Airfloat, Magic Float, EZ Dock, Pontoon Works, Versadock and Aqua Dock, to name but a few.
They can be fitted with a range of accessories such as cleats, rails, deck covers, utility connectors and connecting modules. Surprisingly robust, when assembled they can be used as work platforms, temporary bridges, jetties, drive on boat docks and docking interfaces.
To support heavy plant a more robust solution would be needed, deeper and with stronger connecting mechanisms. The principle of modular pontoons is the same but steel ISO container sized units are obviously much stronger and able to support greater loads.
The first option would be to simply obtain dunnage and spud jacks for the existing Mexeflote pontoon but this might create a situation where these always in high demand units are required elsewhere and so a dedicated solution is needed.
Again, there are many commercial off the shelf solutions and in specifying a modular steel pontoon solution for use as a strong work platform for debris removal and minor salvage tasks there is a recognition that their inherent versatility can be used for other tasks and Increment 1 requirements.
Modular steel pontoons are incredibly versatile, they can be used as work platforms, dredgers, ferries, jetties, rafts, causeways and linkspans.
All similar, generally ISO container sized steel boxes with a range of accessories such as lifting spuds, rails, decking, bollards, fairleads, ramps and connectors. They are transported to the work area, lifted into the water using cranes and connected together using various locking mechanisms, pins and other connectors. They can be towed, pushed or propelled using Thrustmaster type units, as found on the Mexeflote, the OD15N in particular. Spud legs are used to stabilise the platform and resist turning and pushing forces when using excavators and other equipment.
No more than a dozen should be needed as a work platform for the debris and wreckage removal task, complete with a range of ramps, bollards and spud leg systems.
Long Reach Excavator
In much the same way that modular pontoons can be used for tasks beyond for the debris and wreckage removal phase, a long reach excavator can be used not only for wreckage removal, but also other construction tasks.
A long reach excavator is no different to any other, it simply has a longer articulated arm, and thus, it not especially specialised. A small number could be added to the existing ALC C Vehicle PFI, using the same Volvo EC210 chassis that are in service.
The reason long reach equipment is so useful in port clearance operations is because they can be used from the quayside or a floating work platform and achieve useful depths for the manipulation or reduction of underwater debris and wreckage using their bucket, as a lifting device, or with specialist equipment like demolition shears and hammers.
The standard excavator bucket and chain hook should be sufficient for most simple removal tasks but for extra speed a set of specialist underwater hydraulic shears, grabs, drum cutters and pulverisers would be useful.
Although rather specialised, underwater bulldozers are an alternative.
The standard excavator bucket and chain hook should be sufficient for most simple removal tasks but for extra speed a set of specialist underwater hydraulic shears, grabs and pulverisers would be useful. A great deal can be achieved with hydraulics and a standard excavator bucket but even more, and especially faster, can be achieved with specialist hydraulic equipment.
Another example of specialist equipment that could replace the unwieldy long reach excavator is the telescoping arm.
Underwater salvage is a specialist task and whilst the US Navy has a handful of salvage vessels it is not proposed that Increment 1 follows suite. Instead, a small amount of specialist equipment could be used to push or pull small wrecks and other large debris out of the way to enable port access. Distances are likely to be small and vertical lift not needed, shear leg cranes for example, would not be needed.
The Cat D5N has a winch but where this is not suitable, a dedicated chain puller or static winch may be used. They can also be deployed in parallel to increase power.
Whether using a chain puller or ground winch, both will need a range of anchoring equipment, chains and shackles. The work platforms and divers will be used to install lifting points on the wreckage or debris and cranes and wheeled loaders used for handling the chains and other equipment on shore, the 300 tonne chain puller shown below, from TGS in the Netherlands, weighs 12 tonnes and can pull at approximately 2m per minute. Both the chain puller and its hydraulic power pack and ancillaries can be carried in a single ISO container. The video below also shows chain pullers in action but to be clear, Increment 1 will only have two chain pullers and the size of the wreckage dictated by the ability of the two. TMS make a rigging and winch vehicle for use with the chain pullers.
With wreckage, debris and small sunken obstruction either pushed or pulled out of the way the next task category is to ensure that the water environment is suitable for the intended shipping and the land environment can handle the intended cargo.
For this, a number of specialist items of equipment may well yield significant efficiency benefits.
If there is significant rubble it will eventually need to be processed but if the construction tasks need graded fill material then this rubble becomes a valuable commodity. Processing concrete, rock and masonry rubble into graded fill avoids having to ship it in or purchase locally.
For small gap filling requirements rubble can be processed in-situ using a combination of bucket crushers and rotating sorters. These are attachments for existing excavators widely available from a number of manufacturers such VTN Europe and MB Crusher. By processing in-situ stockpiling and transport is reduced.
If larger quantities are needed then the excavator mounted devices will not have the capacity so a dedicated unit might be more appropriate. Concrete recycling equipment can vary in size from mini units designed for domestic applications that fit through a doorway right up to large semi-permanent units with high throughput. A typical medium sized unit is the RM 70GO! from Rubblemaster that can process up to 120 tonnes per hour with variable output sizes. The video below shows a slightly larger unit equipped with a rebar separator.
- Crusher Bucket 1
- Crusher Bucket 2
- Screening Bucket
- Quick Change
- Rubble Processor 1
- Rubble Processor 2
- Rubble Processor 3
Repairs to Berthing and Mooring Areas
Quaysides may need temporary repair or reinforcement, piles and mooring fixtures can also be damaged to an extent that stops the port being of use. Any repairs need only be ‘good enough’ for the duration of the operation and so temporary measures are perfectly good enough.
Pier decks are often mounted on concrete, steel or timber piles and if these are damaged or degraded their ability to withstand berthing forces and mechanical handling equipment greatly compromised.
Traditional pile repair techniques involved dewatering the surrounding area but new methods have long since replaced those and the most common method now used involves creating a temporary jacket using fibreglass or fabric forms and filling the cavity with marine repair epoxy, after removing friable or rotten material. There are a number of British, European and International standards that can be referenced and modern systems tend to comply with the provisions of all of them.
Most of the commercial systems are designed for permanent repair and require all friable, corroded or rotten materials removed using high pressure water or physical abrasion before applying the jacket but given the time constraints involved with Increment 1 tasks this may not always be possible. Traditional marine cement can take many days to achieve full cure strength, again, not likely suited to the Increment 1 mission.
Structural steel pile repair systems are available but they require considerable installation time, probably more than traditional concrete systems.
Pilejax from the Australian company Joinlox is a relatively new system that combines ease of installation with low cost. Available in a number of lengths and diameters it uses an innovative locking mechanism and seal combined with flat pack FRP sheet forms. It is therefore space efficient and lightweight, making it attractive for Increment 1.
A stock of Pilejax could be held in a single container, together with a stock of marine epoxy repair compound and appropriate hoses, pump and mixing equipment such as those from Putzmeister.
Temporary repairs to deck piers can also be made with filled ISO containers, gabions such as Defencell and Hesco, shoring with any available steel girders that could be cut or salvaged from other areas or using temporary bridge supports as long as the bottom could support the load. Combinations of these methods could also be used, Hesco filled with rubble and marine grout as temporary foundations for bridge supports or prop systems for example.
Pile supported decks are a challenge because the entire weight of the deck, any equipment or cargo on that deck and berthing forces are transmitted through the piles. This generally makes them large and sturdy structures that are both difficult to repair or reinforce and equally difficult to create any sort of temporary work around where time is of the essence.
Non pile supported piers and other port structures use sheet piling. The sheet piles are driven into the ground, secured using tie backs and soldier beams and then back filled. The sheet piles are then capped, usually using concrete.
Because they are so strong and bulky, any damage is likely to be very difficult to repair although sheet piling will remain a valuable capability within any port repair context.
For smaller areas of damage simply installing additional sheet piles in front of the damage and backfilling without tie rods may provide sufficient robustness for the short term. Backfill material could be processed rubble.
A more recent alternative is open cell bulkhead construction that uses sheet piles but arranges them in a multiple U shapes to eliminate tie backs and anchors. A Y shaped pile connector is used to form the U shape. This technique may also prove to be useful for smaller installations, extensions and repairs.
Z and U shaped sheet piling continues to evolve but they are poor at dealing with vertical loads and so combination or high modulus walls incorporate sheet piling reinforced with tubular or box section piles. Concrete diaphragm walls are low maintenance and long life for deep draughts but require extensive construction excavation using equipment such as Hydrofaise cutters.
When driving sheet piles from the land side, the surface has to have sufficient bearing strength to support the pile driving equipment, this may not be present in the case of damaged areas and so driving from the floating platform may be the only choice available. This may require the use of a driving alignment frame, especially for crane supported devices.
Vibratory pile drivers liquefy the soil which allows the pile to be easily driven into the ground. They also reduce any transmitted vibration to neighbouring vulnerable structures, particularly where damage exists. For small repairs a sheet piling attachment can be used with existing excavators although a dedicated leader rig would yield faster results at the expense of higher cost and transportability requirements.
Typical of the dedicated hydraulic leader rig is the RG16T from RTG Rammtechnik GmbH. It has a telescopic leader and variable vibration for increased versatility and can install pairs of sheet piles up to 15m long. Setup times are usually less than 30 minutes once unloaded and their work rate is impressive. An auger attachments can be used to pre-loosen very hard soils. A typical excavator mounted vibratory pile driver is the Movax Modular Side Grip attachment that can install piles up to 12m in length.
Corrosion free PVC and composite sheet piles are used for smaller height walls or where soil conditions allow,
A final method that might be of use is the King Post Wall, often called the soldier wall or Berlin wall. It uses regularly spaced H profile steel beams driven into the ground (or augered and concreted in) with concrete, wood or composite panels slotted into the beam web, not unlike fencing panels. They are usually only used for short retaining walls but could be of use in certain port repair applications.
As the Haiti earthquake showed, a simple ramp can allow the large landing craft and ships with ramps to access the port which provided a significant uplift in throughput from the smaller military style landing craft. Many ports will already have a number of these access ramps for boat launch and RORO ships but where they do not, or have been damaged, construction will be needed.
Traditional construction techniques usually require a watertight cofferdam to be built with sheet piling, sandbags or demountable barriers and dewatered. When the area has been dewatered concrete formwork and reinforcing are installed and infilled with poured concrete. When the concrete has cured the barriers are removed. This makes for a sturdy installation but is time consuming, a luxury Increment 1 does not have.
Purely in the interests of speed, alternative methods will be required.
Harbour walls or quaysides may be too high for a ramp and will therefore require some form of demolition before installing the ramp. This may seem counter-intuitive but if the port environment does not have a ramp, its ability to accommodate a variety of smaller craft will be limited.
The long reach excavator may prove invaluable in this task.
Building the ramp gradient could involve a number of techniques, used together or alone.
Pipe fascine bundles, Class 30 or 70 trackway and Hesco or Defencecell gabbions are in service or in the defence supply chain and well suited to this type of temporary construction.
Marine grout is a special type of cement that is resistant to washout and able to cure in direct contact with water. Mixed with sand or small aggregate it can be pumped into fabric bags or multi cell mattresses and this type of installation is often used for scour protection and bank erosion control. Because the fabric and concrete conforms to the underwater and surface undulations and obstructions it would make an excellent ‘concrete carpet’ for landing craft and ships.
The problems with using cement and concrete, as detailed in the pile repair section, is that it needs specialist mixing and pumping equipment, storage/transport of cements and sand/aggregates and time to achieve the required hardness after fill. Quick curing marine grouts are available but might not be suitable for this application and still unable to achieve the required hardness in a reasonable time.
Pre-cast segmented concrete mattresses are widely used in the subsea installation sector for pipeline and scour protection and subsea ROV platforms. They use individual cast concrete blocks connected with polypropylene rope.
The only downside to these subsea concrete mattress products is their heftiness and weight, they are perhaps too heavy duty for the application. Lighter alternatives are available that are more commonly used in inshore erosion control such as Flexamat.
The innovative Concrete Canvas could also be used. Concrete Canvas is a relatively new British product that is a concrete impregnated fabric on rolls of various lengths and widths. It is unfurled, secured using staples where required and hydrated. It can be hydrated by spraying with fresh or salt water, or simply immersed. After hydration it is achieves 80% strength in less than 24 hours. Although Concrete Canvas has many excellent properties it is relatively thin and so may not be durable enough for repeated trafficking, multiple layers may be needed but it is very easy to install so this would not be a significant barrier to use.
Geotubes are flexible synthetic tubular containers that are hydraulically filled with sand and water, under pressure. The sand is usually dredged from the surrounding area. Residual internal pressure forces the water out through the material leaving what is in effect, a gigantic sand bag. They have been used for a wide range of marine construction and shoreline protection projects.
Bomb cratering or damage as a result of earthquakes will produce holes and cracks that need filling (stop giggling at the back!). In order to operate fork lift trucks, reach stackers and container handlers, port roads and storage areas must be ‘relatively’ flat.
Concrete and tarmac repair products are widely available and can be used for small areas but where large areas need repair a graded fill material will be needed. If rubble is available and has been converted to graded granular fill material it can be recycled and reused for this purpose. Dredged sand can be recycled although if settling lagoons are used it might not be in a suitable form for several days. Otherwise, local purchase may be the only practical alternative.
The in service rollers and vibratory compacters such as the snappily titled compact Roller Motorised Smooth Drum SPT Tandem Vib DSL Wacker RD27-100 or Compactor Plate Pedal Remote Control DSL Wacker DPU7060SC would form standard components of any Royal Engineers port repair squadron.
The in service Class 30 or 70 Trackway may also be used but alternative products such as fibreglass and composite road mats may be more applicable as the underlying surface is still load bearing and are now widely available, very easy to use, lightweight and have a low scrap value meaning they are less likely to be stolen.
Aggregate and infill materials would be transported by the Iveco Medium Dump Trucks described above although if available, smaller Terex TA3, or Dumper Ultra Light, might also be used for smaller loads. Excavator mounted hydraulic compacter plates could be used if the roller and vibratory compacters were not available. It is a swings and roundabouts decision, less to deploy but when the excavator is compacting it is not excavating. The ubiquitous JCB 4CX or tractor Wheeled Light would no doubt find a role in general repair work.
There are a number of different types of mooring bollard with selection depending upon factors such as mooring angles, number of lines and required load strength.
Installation generally uses cast in or through deck bolts and resin anchors are used for retrofit applications. For Increment 1 a small number of cast mooring bollards and resin anchors would be available and installed as necessary.
Dredging and Aids to Navigation
Within the confines of a port and its approach lanes there are normally two methods of achieving a desired depth, depending on soil conditions, both usually mounted on a pontoon of some sort.
Trailing arm cutter suction dredgers use a rotary cutting head that is lowered into the soil and as it cuts, the debris is removed to a settling lagoon or barge using a suction pump. Backhoe dredgers employ a large hydraulic excavator and standard bucket with the spoils loaded onto a barge for removal.
With a long reach excavator, some dredging might also be carried out from land. Backhoe dredgers can use integral excavators or a land based excavator driven on for the duration of the dredging activity. They are most suitable for unconsolidated soils containing pebbles, clay and sand, and friable or crumbly rock.
Both types use a pontoon that employs spud legs in order to counter the dredging forces, especially for excavators.
It would make logistical sense to maximise use of the proposed long reach excavator and modular pontoon work platform. This could be augmented with spud leg modules (all of the proposed pontoons can be fitted with spud modules) but the Baars Confloat range can make use of a travelling spud leg carrier which increases work rate significantly as it reduces the number of spud movements for a given dredged area.
For Increment 1 tasks, the most likely requirement is to dredge to an already established depth after siltation from neglect, a typical example of this can be found in the Iraq case study. However, some dredging may be required to expand the depth of an existing port and so equipment should be available to dredge to a depth of 12-15m.
There are many manufactures of modular pontoon cutter suction dredging pontoon but a typical example is the IHC Beaver 50. It can dredge to a depth of 14m and can also be fitted with a walking spud carriage system. The system is containerised for transport and comes with a range of options for pumping equipment, hoses and different types of cutting head.
Excavators can also be fitted with dredging pumps.
To cover both options, the long reach excavator and work platform pontoon could be combined with a dedicated modular cutter suction system.
- IHC Beaver 50 Video 1
- IHC Beaver 50 Video 2
- IHC Beaver 50 Video 3
- Confloat Spud Carrier
- Excavator Dredger
- Submersible Dredge Pump
Aids to Navigation
Aids to navigation such as marker buoys may have drifted out of position or not be present. With a small stock of marker buoys and navigation lights it should not be a difficult task to install or reinstate existing devices.
Hydrosphere are the main supplier to the MoD for harbour lights, buoys and other aids to navigation and the buoy maintenance contract is held by Briggs Marine subcontracted to Serco Marine via the Future Provision of Marine Services PFI. Briggs Marine are responsible for some 220 aids to navigation and 110 moorings in the UK, Cyprus and Gibraltar and together with the Serco diver support team and associated services provide an effective capability for the MoD.
As part of the wider PFI Damen supplied 29 new vessels to Serco;
Included in the new fleet was a pair of Multi Cat 2510’s equipped for buoy/mooring handling and trials support. The SD Navigator is the name of the mooring and buoy handing Multi Cat 2510, and is an ideal workboat for Increment 1, equipped for buoy and mooring maintenance with winches and a 9 tonne at 7m outreach crane.
A Damen Multicat 2510 would be an ideal general workboat for Increment but because they are wide (for stability) they are too wide for easy road transportation or loading inside the LSD(A) well dock. If the existing Army Workboats could be fitted with a hydraulic jib and maintain their stability this would be the obvious solution but if not, a dedicated vessel for buoy replacement might be needed. In some conditions one of the LSD(A)’s could lift buoys into place using their deck crane but closer inshore this might be a problem.
Again, taking the modular pontoon approach allows the creation of multiple vessel types. Simply carrying a couple of extra pontoons and adding a wheelhouse and deck crane would provide the necessary stability and reach for buoy handling.
If Increment 1 invests in modular pontoons like the Damen system, simply extending it for use across multiple requirements makes a lot of sense.
With a suitable service vessel, a stock of buoys, sinkers, swivels, shackles and chains should fit into one or two ISO containers. They can be used for lateral and cardinal marks, danger marks and wreck markers. The Hydrosphere Mobilis ES1700, T1200 and Jet 2000 would provide a reasonable spread of equipment capability.
Together with a stock of navigation lights, again from Hydrosphere, this will allow the reinstatement of aids to navigation, at least to a minimum level.
RORO Linkspan and Buffer Pontoon
As shown in the Iraq case study a link span for use with large stern ramp RORO ships can allow them to unload in ports without RORO facilities, of which there are many.
The arrival of the two buffer pontoons in Haiti created a step change in cargo offload rates, making the JLOTS capability more or less redundant, they are still there today. FIPASS at Port Stanley on the Falkland Islands is another example, again, still there. A buffer pontoon extends the wharf into deeper water and allows the spanning of damaged sections.
The solution to both requirements will have a number of common features; a large platform onto which a RORO ships ramp can be landed that is large and sturdy enough for MLC 120 trailer and tractor loads to turn, some means of securing the platform in place and an access ramp that can accommodate the height differential between the platform and quayside. A buffer pontoon will also require mooring fixtures and space for cranes to enable it to offload non RORO vessels.
The platform can be either a modular pontoon or single piece unpowered barge, the former described above and the latter, commonly used in the offshore energy, heavy lift and salvage industries. There are pros and cons for either approach. A single piece barge will be quicker to install than a modular pontoon but pose more difficulties in transportation.
When the pontoon or barge moored is placed in close proximity to the quayside it will need securing. In locations where there is seabed scour protection close in to the quayside a spud leg might not be suitable so it will require cleats for attaching mooring lines.
In some locations there will be a height differential between the modular platform and quayside or pier deck. Without some form of ramp or roadway, vehicles will not be able to be offloaded so the solution must also have some form of adjustable ramp that can also accommodate the same MLC 120 loads as the landing platform. It will also require an interface for both the platform and quayside that prevents slippage and adjusts for differing angles as the tide changes.
This connecting ramp could be constructed using BR90 or Logistic Support Bridge components but this would remove from use a relatively expensive and uncommon item of equipment from the wider campaign so a dedicated ramp is preferable. There will be a number of cranes available within the port environment so as long as it fits within the weight and reach envelope of a Terex AC55 it should be quick and easy to lift into place. The connecting pieces for pontoon and quayside may require some bespoke design and fabrication.
An alternative to unpowered modular or single piece pontoons/barges would be a self-powered transhipment barge, now becoming more common. Because the quantity of modular pontoons required for a buffer or linkspan pontoon is not inconsiderable and would therefore present a number of transportability difficulties, a self-powered system would go some to easing the transport challenge. A single piece pontoon would also need towing or transporting to theatre on a FLO-FLO ship.
Self-powered barges are not the fastest of craft though, so it would be a trade-off between deployment speed and deployment ease.
A good example of the type is the Damen Crane Barge 6324. It is equipped with self-contained accommodation for up to 12 personnel, basic navigation and propulsion options and a large Liebherr CBG 350 Transhipment Crane.
The CBG 350 can lift up to 45 tonnes at 36m outreach and when equipped with a container spreader easily handle fully laden 40 foot ISO containers.
Investing in such an item does somewhat go against one of the underlying themes of Increment 1 in that it would be a large investment rather than a series of smaller investments but it would still be worth considering because it could be used as a RORO linkspan and buffer pontoon inside a port, and, a transhipment crane for ship to ship transfers in deeper water able to transfer over 1,000 tonnes per hour.
Equipment Repair and Port Operations
It may be quicker to repair harbour machinery such as cranes, container handlers, fork lift trucks and generators than land it from expeditionary shipping, and some equipment such as large container cranes would not be practical to deploy at all, so repair is the only short term option.
It would be impractical to carry spares in the Increment 1 stores, ready to go, for every different manufacturer of fork lift trucks or harbour cranes but call off contracts and online documentation and manuals would be feasible for the major equipment manufacturers. The initial survey and standing port data will also provide insight into equipment held in the port.
The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, together with specialist elements from the Royal Logistic Corps and Royal Engineers will deliver the equipment repair task. It might also be assumed that locally employed civilians would play a key role and the ability to pay the local personnel and suppliers should be incorporated into the port operations and management capability.
The deployed equipment will also need maintenance and first line repair tasks and naturally, this will also be carried out by the engineering team. No great amount of new systems will be needed because the Deployable Engineer Workshop, Deployable Machine Shop and Fitter Section in a Box are already in service.
The 44 Deployable Machine Shops in service can be used alone or with other infrastructure and includes a range of powered and hand tool including a lathe, milling/drilling machine and grinder amongst many others.
The much larger Deployable Engineer Workshop (DEW), supplied by G3 Systems, supports Royal Engineer artisan trades such as carpenters, fabricators, welders, fitter machinist’s, builders, structural finishers, electricians , utilities engineers and petroleum engineers. Each trade has a bay linked to the large central Main Working Area (MWA).
All the bays are housed in 20 specially adapted DROPS compatible 20ft ISO containers, trailer mounted generators (FEPS)
The full £1.2m DEW comprises;
- ME Fabricator and Blacksmith – two containers
- ME Carpenter and Joiner – two containers
- ME Fitter Equipment and Welder – one shared container
- ME Fitter Utility and & Petroleum Fitter ACR (Air Conditioning & Refrigeration) – one shared container
- ME Electrician and ME Fitter H&P (Heating & Plumbing) – one shared container
- Planning Staff & Draughtsman – one shared container
- ME Building and Structural Draughtsman – one shared container
- Main Work Area Storage Container – doubles as a Stores Container when Main Work Area Shelter is deployed
- Forward Deployment and Utility Container (FDUC) – provides a forward deployable capability independent of the main hybrid. System acts as a general Utility Container when not on deployment
- RACU Container – housing the environmental conditioning equipment for the Main Work Area shelter
The Main Work Area (MWA) provides a large open space (242 square metres W 11.5m x L 21m) that allow vehicles to access the space and for handling large work items, FOB gates for example. DEW can be operational within 12 hours, although planning assumptions are longer to allow site preparation.
Marshal Land Systems have recently supplied a number of Fitter Section in a Box (FSIB) which is a deployable vehicle maintenance bay complete with inflatable shelter to allow maintenance of protected vehicles under cover. FISB comes in a single container with two inflatable shelters and its own generator to enable a small fitter section to work during the night and use compressed air tools.
Given that DEW is modular it would seem to make sense to integrate DEW and FSIB so that vehicle maintenance and first line repairs can be carried out in the same location, sharing power and cooling for example, as the engineer artisan trades although perhaps we might dispense with the structural finishing trades!
It would also be an improvement if different shelters were used for FSIB to accommodate larger vehicles and heavy plant. Replacing the required 7 FEPS generators with a single containerised 450kva generator would also be an improvement worth pursuing.
These systems are in service and could be deployed as necessary.
Materials Handling and Storage
Fork lift trucks, reach stackers, MAFI trailers/tractors, telehandlers, container mobilisers, straddle carriers, rubber tire gantry cranes and harbour cranes make up the working machinery of most ports. A port will also have, and may need more of, storage facilities that need protection from the weather and even refrigerated storage.
Already in service are JCB Telehandlers, various fork lift trucks, DROP/EPLS trucks, Kalmar Rough Terrain Container Handlers, cranes and other mobile plant that could easily be used for moving pallets and containers around a port.
Where the in service equipment is less suited is to offloading ships, especially the larger container and general cargo ships. Some of these ships have their own cranes to lift cargo from their holds and onto the quayside or awaiting vehicles. Most civilian container ships, even the smaller feeder ships, do not have their own cranes and this therefore, leaves a potential capability gap should neither the ship nor port have offloading equipment in good working order.
If the Damen Crane Barge is obtained as described above the need for separate equipment may not be needed but assuming not, a number of options are available; specialised mobile harbour cranes, crawler cranes and material handlers should all be considered.
Fixed cranes are generally less complex but in order to access the full width or length of a ships hold they need long reach and if the crane is going to be used in the construction of the shore linking causeway (as I intend to propose) before being used to offload ships mobility is a key requirement
Any crane must be able to span the full width of expected ship types but in this scenario, heavy lift capacity is not needed. If it is accepted that heavy vehicles will drive off a RORO ship the most common item is in the region of 40 tonnes and usually it would be much less.
When selecting cranes there are many trade-offs and specification touch points so I am going to show three examples, one from each category. It must be said however, that these are products available from a number of manufacturers.
Lattice or telescopic boom crawler cranes are common in the heavy lift and construction sector, they combine a large tracked chassis with an equally large counterweight and long boom. A typical example is the Link Belt TCC-750, with a tracked carriage it can traverse difficult terrain and the 4 part boom with lattice extension allows it to lift out to a maximum reach of over 50m. Other crawler cranes use multi-section lattice booms rather than telescoping types. This is a general purpose heavy lift crane and more transportable than might be imagined because they are designed for frequent road carriage to and from work sites.
Mobile Harbour Cranes
The mobile harbour crane is a more specialised design than the crawler crane that whilst not as deployable has a number of design features that allow it to access the top container stack on container vessels or the bottom of bulk carrier holds. Automatic spreader assemblies allow the rapid attachment and lifting of ISO containers so containerised cargo offload rates are potentially much higher that with general purpose crawler cranes. At the lower end of the size scale is the Liebherr LHM 180. At 20m outreach it can lift containers weighing between 25-32 tonnes depending on whether a semi or fully automatic spreader is used. With a turnover of up to 35 cycles per hour, total throughput for an 18 hour operating window would be in excess of 630 containers or over 15,000 tonnes if those containers contained 25 tonnes of material. Actual throughput would of course be lower depending upon many factors such as truck capacity, operator skill, light availability, weather conditions, operator rest periods and ship configuration etc., but this is still an impressive piece of equipment, even at half the theoretical throughput. Move up the model list and the larger LHM 280 can still do the same number of cycles but from much larger container vessels (between Handymax and Panamax) and two 20ft containers (TEU) at a time, in effect, doubling the maximum throughput.
The major problem with these large mobile harbour cranes is their deployability, they need a reasonably heavy lift crane to offload onto the quayside and assembly time is not short.
The final type of crane to consider is technically speaking, not a crane, as it does not use a winch cable. Materials handlers are used to access cargo that does not extend above cargo ship holds, or if it does, not by much. They are generally used for bulk cargo such as metal scrap, timber and minerals but can be fitted with an automatic container spreader. Although they cannot access the top stacks of traditional container vessels or lift heavy 40ft containers, their direct action allows a very higher number of cycles to be achieved. The Mantsinen 200 is typical of the type and can offload 45 20ft ISO containers (TEU) per hour, or over 800 TEU per 18 hour period.
If we can achieve high ship offload rates using specialist equipment like a harbour crane or RORO linkspan there is potential for movement within the port and onward to create a bottleneck that undoes the effort expended on the quayside. Cargo needs to get away from the port and to the point of use as fast as possible (accepting some stockpiling and palletisation may be a requirement).
For RORO cargo the main requirement is space for turning and parking, one of the main engineer and construction tasks would be to make sure suitable space is available.
For pallets and containers,the in service equipment should generally be sufficient.
The ‘retch’ is an impressive piece of equipment but with less than 20 in service relatively uncommon. For use where the all terrain features are not required, the MoD has a number of Hyster container handlers
Although they are not necessarily classed as deployable equipment an extra small purchase for use in Increment 1 deployments would provide a useful uplift without costing a great deal.
DROPS (if any are left in service), the newer Enhanced Palletized Load System (EPLS) and whatever is chosen for the non Articulated Vehicle Programme (NAVP) can be used for container transport in and around the port and beyond. EPLS can lift ISO containers without first placing them on a flatrack but in most other respects, EPLS is broadly similar to DROPS. The H Frame or Container Handling system uses ISO locks and can lift 8’0″, 8’6″ and 9’0″ containers with an optional kit for 4’0″ and 3’3″ half height containers. The MAN SV Recovery Vehicle can lift 15 tonnes and the Iveco Truck Mounted Loader, 5.3 tonnes, useful for shifting pallets and smaller or unloaded containers.
Where situations dictate the use of non specialised container lifting equipment a spreader frame increases speed and safety. The twistlocks are activated by pulling a toggle which eliminates the need for personnel to climb on top of the container. Bottom lug lifters are also available to avoid working at height.
Not everything has to be powered and simple mechanical equipment still has utility, especially in rapid response situations where the heavy lift equipment might be in follow on offload. Recotech in Sweden make the 17 tonne capacity Wing Lift, Anga in Poland and Haacon in Germany also make similar equipment that can be used for limited road moves and aircraft/vehicle loading.
These manual systems can be slow and have a lower lift weight but the advantage of not needing power is obvious,especially for the wheeled lifting jacks. They also allow containers to be loaded and unloaded from vehicles without any MHE.
Although manual systems are cheap and easy to use they often lack speed and lifting capacity. Moving containers around port storage areas is usually done by equipment like container forklifts at the Kalmar but as mentioned above, are difficult to deploy, expensive and few in number. Other powered systems might not have the reach or stacking capacity of the Kalmar but are much lower cost and easier to deploy. The most simple type is like the manual systems above, corner jacks and hoists, but of course, powered.
Container mobilisers are similar in concept to the large shuttle and straddle carriers seen in container terminals. They are much easier to transport although may require some assembly in theatre, can operate on moderate to poor surfaces and can be easily used indoors or where space is tight due to a low height and small footprint.
Best of all, compared to the Kalmars of this world, as cheap as chips!
Combilift, ISO Loader, Meclift and Mobicon are notable manufacturers in this space, the latter selected by the US Navy for moving containers on and off LCS. The Combilift is delivered in two 20ft containers and takes about a day to build, ideal for Increment 1. The Mobicon straddle carrier uses two lifting frames that operate together rather than the rigid frame of the combilift. Mobicon also make a soft terrain version that because of the low container height are not vulnerable to tipping over should a soft patch or hole be encountered, they are more or less tip proof. The Meclift is intended for use on storage yards.
Many ports will also have a number of Mafi trailers and tractors, where these are not available, damaged and beyond repair, the equipment described above would be provide a good alternative.
Any of these relatively cheap systems would be an ideal addition to the Increment 1 package, relatively cheap, easy to operate, efficient, widely available and likely to deliver meaningful uplift in throughput without taking too much in service equipment away from other operational tasks.
Existing port buildings such as warehousing and refrigerated warehousing may be well found, non-existent or completely destroyed so in order to provide some shelter for stores and materials a temporary shelter of sort would be a useful addition to Increment 1.
The MoD has a well-established relationship with Rubb UK, fabric building specialists. Rubb produce a number of different products for port warehousing and their specialist military range, the EFASS (Expeditionary Forces Aircraft Shelter System). EFASS can be used for storage, as a hangar for aircraft or temperature controlled maintenance space. It is available in 11.1m, 20.4m and 25 m spans with typical lengths up to 100m.
Power, heating and cooling options are available, as are a range of doors, double skin fabrics and other ancillaries. They are quick to erect, with a 25m x 100m shelter built in 13 days, and not overly expensive.
Daytime operations are a given but if ships are to use the facility in the hours of darkness, lighting will be required in any area that is being used. The port will more likely have these facilities in place so may well have been addressed in the repair task. If those repairs need spare parts that are not available a quick portable solution will be needed.
Modern ports and harbours now have computer controlled lighting systems that are designed to minimise electricity use by coordinating crane and ship movements with the hour of day and season, security sensors and access control. The control circuits are often wireless and able to be reprogrammed remotely, all very clever stuff.
In line with the ‘just enough and no more’ philosophy of Increment 1, any deployed solution should provide lighting for the working locations in support of the operation and very quick to set up, consequently, the level of sophistication must be kept to a level that is supportable with the intended timescales and deployment resource.
With recent legal judgements any port area that is used for UK personnel will likely need to comply with relevant Health and safety legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Dock Regulations 1988 and the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. This might not be as onerous as imagined because any equipment on the market will be in compliance with current regulation and BS 12464-2007.
Light pollution when operating at night may well impact key ship’s crew and pilots night vision, it is not sufficient to simply flood an area with light (see what I did there!)
For most applications, where accurate colour rendering is not needed Metal Halide or High Pressure Sodium are normally used although LED technology is now making headway in the market. Lighting level requirements vary between 5 and 50 lux depending on area, working or storage for example need differing levels. To achieve these levels the only practical solution is a portable type, lighting towers and mobile generators but the demanding operating environment of a port needs careful equipment selection.
Power consumption is an important factor for a deployable solution because every lux will need powering from self-contained generators, each needing fuel that must be landed or taken from existing finite supplies. Although low energy lighting has a higher capital cost the running cost and operational advantages would point to a low energy solution such as available from Holophane, CU Phosco and Prismalence. As an example, a 70w Prismalence Ceramic Discharge Metal Halide unit outputs the same light as a 1000w Halogen unit.
Portable lighting towers are available through the C Vehicle PFI with ALC but they are mostly designed for site use and may not be high enough although the C Vehicle PFI would be an ideal commercial provision solution.
Combining a low energy lighting solution like the Prismalence Stella with a self-contained semi mobile lighting tower such as the 11m Maxi Tower or 15m TI15 from Towerlight would provide good coverage at low energy use. Deploying them around the port area should be a simple task for any of the wheeled loaders and wheeled tractors described above.
If the common 11-15m solutions do not elevate the lights to sufficient height to clear container stacks and other obstructions without needing many units a greater height might be needed, this means moving away from conventional solutions and to those that use elevating lattice towers like those currently in use in Afghanistan for the Base-ISTAR observation towers from Floatograph and Will Burt.
A quick check using a light meter will confirm the correct levels, obviously, some leeway and an application of common sense is needed. Floodlighting for work and storage areas will need to be deployed in addition to harbour navigation lamps.
Port Operations Management
The final part of Increment 1 is port operations management, fundamentally, two elements. In addition to maintaining security and utilities, they are traffic management and the administration of port activities.
Traffic management in and out of the port is an administrative task not unlike air traffic management, although obviously not as fast. The people best placed to deliver this would be the personnel normally employed at the port, managers, pilots and controllers. In some scenarios, simply turning up with a pile of cash and paying the existing staff can cut through any administrative issues and get people working.
This is an important and not to be overlooked element of augmenting or ‘repairing’ a port environment, its people are every bit as important as the built environment and mobile plant. A small administration cell that can manage port movements and small scale local employment has great potential to leverage investment in Increment 1 investment. This admin cell could use any of the many Operational Portable Office’s already in service as long as they are equipped with sufficient people and cash management equipment, computers and software.
Moving ships in turning basins and mooring areas requires the use of tugs. some ships are equipped with bow thrusters and other propulsion systems that allow precise positioning without the use of tugs but this would cut down on potential shipping that can use the port. Yet again, getting any tugs that are already part of the ports facilities working is the easiest option but if none exist, or those that exist are beyond practical repair, a deployable tug pair will be needed. The RLC Army Workboat’s can be used as tugs but not perhaps for the larger ships.
Conventional harbour tugs are powerful but heavy, usually in excess of 300 tonnes, even for a small design like the Damen ASD Tug 2009, used by Serco and the MoD. The reason the weight is important because it has to be able to be lifted from an LSD(A) deck, either that or transported inside or on a FLOFLO or heavy lift ship. It is a trade-off, large bollard pull rating allows fewer tugs to be used (within sensible limits) but means big and heavy vessels and resultant poor deployability. Drop down to smaller bollard pulls and you need more, including more skilled operators, although deployability is easier. Going to a smaller bollard pull would allow the use of containerised tugs that can be easily transported and lifted from ship to the water’s surface.
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